*WARNING* – I don’t have a weak stomach…but what my VA wrote made me queezy.
Unaltered from my VA:
You’re eating balut wrong (or the wrong balut)
Nothing grosses out the rest of the world like the Filipino delicacy ‘balut’ or fertilized duck egg. The thought munching on a duckling is so cringe-inducing that some people end up throwing up even before they take a bite.
Of course you’d want to throw up. You guys are eating the wrong kind of balut. And you guys are eating balut wrong. That’s why it’s gross.
The balut that’s often served in shows like “Fear Factor” and in food challenges seem to be older. Balut is often eaten when the fertilized egg is between 14 to 21 days. If you see a lot of feathers and the beak and bones feel crunchier, you’ve got the one that’s closer to 21 days.
For beginners, we often recommend you start with a ‘penoy’. It’s an infertile duck egg or a fertile duck egg with a dead embryo. It just looks like a hard boiled egg with hardly any egg white. It tastes gamier compared to a chicken egg and you might see some blood vessels just starting to form. The yolk has a custard-like texture, which makes it a popular treat for kids here.
When you’re used to the idea of eating a really tiny duck, you can go for the 14 – 16 day egg. That’s when you get the optimal chick-to-yolk ratio without the feathers. You can swallow the chick whole, like an oyster. Or you can bite into it if you really want the crunchier texture.
If you want to show off to (or gross out) your friends, that’s when you go for the older eggs.
And don’t eat the “bato” or the stone. That’s the hard, white part at the bottom of the shell. That part is inedible.
Now, here’s how you actually eat the balut. You slurp the liquid part first. That’s the duck amniotic fluid. Some people drink it as is, some add a bit of salt. Depends on your preference.
Once you’ve finished off all the liquid, you slowly peel off the shell and eat it like you would with a hard boiled egg. You can sprinkle salt or dip it in some spiced vinegar (ketchup if you’re really crazy) to taste.
If you think balut is gross, wait til you see these
Like our Asian neighbors, Filipino street food is borne out of necessity. You want to get food for the least amount of money and you want to get as much food from what you can get.
Chicken and pork is eaten worldwide but here in the Philippines, we’ve found a way to make use of everything. And I mean, everything. The only thing we don’t eat are the feathers and they’re still used for something.
Once you’re done with the breasts, thighs, tenderloins and chops, what do you do with the rest of the chicken and pig? Turn them into street food of course!
Here are just some of the chicken and pork based street food you can get here in the Philippines
1. Helmet – Grilled marinated chicken heads on a stick.
2. Adidas – Grilled marinated chicken feet on a stick
3. Sisig – Grilled pork face, finely chopped and seasoned on a sizzling plate
4. Betamax – Pig’s blood coagulated with vinegar
5. Chicharong bulaklak – cracklings made from pork intestines
Maybe this is why your Filipino VAs…hmmm…nope…I’ve got nothing to say.
I almost threw up just sending this email.